The book of Numbers is full of oddly specific instructions on everything from offerings, to census data, to celebrations, to inheritance rights for women. There are stories and dialogues dispersed throughout as well, but most of it is data. Many a person has started reading the Bible at the beginning and gotten hung up on Levitical law or the census taken in Numbers. But I think there is a reason we find the book of Numbers in scripture.
God is a god of order—not chaos. A post-modern thinker may shirk at the notion of a God who orders the world. It flies in the face of the notion, “you do you.” Few find “order” to be a fun word, but arguably fewer yet would cling to the promises of chaos.
There is beauty in order that we sometimes miss. Consider a snowflake. Each one unique, each one ordered and crystallized into a frozen promise of symmetry—order. Consider the migration of birds. As temperatures change, birds move farther South to preserve their species, flying in “V” patterns to preserve their energy—order. Consider the rhythm of seasons. Snow, melt, warmth, crisp. On and on…each season changing brings rest, rejuvenation, and new life—order.
As God provided instructions for ordering communities, God graciously prevented people from living in anxious chaos. When you read the book of Numbers, consider the beauty and goodness of order, and how unravelled things become in a state of chaos.
How is your life ordered? Have you allowed God a place in ordering it? Or do you control the order? In your places of greatest chaos, how might you allow God to work order?